Members of the Jackson Hole High School volleyball team hold planks during practice in 2016. Some experts believe a strong core helps prevent painful back problems.

I spent most of last week lying around after tweaking my back at the gym. It’s kind of amazing how little you can accomplish when it hurts to walk or sit, not to mention exercise. I watched a lot of television, read some books and got grumpy.

Once you’ve had a bout with back pain you start to recognize the symptoms in others: friends walking with one shoulder higher than the other or with their torso tilted forward awkwardly. People who move as if they are made of glass where one wrong step could shatter them. People who stand with their hands on their lower back or the ones who push themselves up out of a chair with their arms.

Molly Absolon writes every other week. Contact her via columnists@

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